Many of Chepang children at Simthali in Benighatrorang rural municipality-2 in Dhading district have been deprived of a hot meal and warm clothes due to poverty, and lack of proper parental care. A majority of the Chepang students at Praja Elementary School at Simthali attend school empty-stomach.
Teacher Apsara Maina said that some students take comfort at the sight of the making of mid-day meal while going for the loo.
Kali Bahadur Chepang at Simthali has nine children. Among them only six go to school. Rest others join Kali Bahadur for daily wages work or spend their day in household chores. With so many mouths to feed, Kali Bahadur said he had no choice to take some of his elder children to work.
Orpha Chepang children such as six-year-old Dep Chepang and eight-year-old Kamal Chepang have been suffering ordeal since their mother left them for a long time. Father, who goes to work, often comes home fortnightly. The two children have been brought up under the care of their grandmother.
Unable to fend off cold due to lack of warm clothes, the sight of children coming to school raises compassion, said teacher Maina.
Last year, Radha Shrestha from Kathmandu had coordinated to send stationery materials, clothes and shoes to the impoverished children here. Many of the Chepang children have been using the same set of clothes and shoes, now worn out.
Manmaya Chepang, 11, and Santosh Chepang, 14, also share the similar fate. They were orphaned after their father was swept away by the flood. In absence of parental care, these children have been living in destitute.
Although the local government is supposed to secure welfare of the marginalized communities, the Chepang community here is far from feeling the difference.